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Generation Y: Why You Should Be Paying Attention to Them

Posted on 20 Oct 09

At the Aartrijk Brand Camp in September, one of the presentations made was by Andy Liakopoulos and Robin Erickson, both of the Human Capital Practice of Deloitte Consulting. Andy and Robin shared with us some powerful sales and marketing information and data on who our next customer is and how to go about reaching him/her.

Generation Y, defined as those under the age of 30, is the new emerging generation and we as insurance professionals need to know how to talk to them, engage them and get them as clients. Here are some facts about Gen Y’ers that the folks at Deloitte shared:

• Largest generation since Baby Boomers – Gen Y currently represents 10% of US labor force and this is projected to increase
• Projected to become the wealthiest generation yet
• Technologically savvy and connected 24/7
• Independently dependent
• Optimistic, confident, comfortable, self-reliant, entrepreneurial, inclusive, socially minded
• Practically motivated
• Culturally diverse

What are some of the things we can discern from these basic characteristics? Growing up with a mouse in one hand and a cell phone in another means that Gen Y’ers are avid web and mobile users and technology is integrated into every aspect of their lives. As a generation that, as a whole, is independently dependent, Y’ers are self-directed and resourceful. They will research a topic, an issue, product, or service before making a decision. But they will also seek recommendations and validation from personal networks, such as friends and family. Their practical approach at this stage of their life means that price is important…they will shop around for the best deal. They have a strong entrepreneurial bent and describe themselves as ‘serial entrepreneurs.’ They are culturally diverse (one-third describe themselves as “non-white”) and a greater percentage comes from non-traditional or single-parent households. They look at corporate governance policies and a company’s social responsibility program as part of their decision to work for or do business with that firm.

What does this translate into in terms of Gen Y’ers as insurance consumers? Based on their profile and characteristics, following is a summary of Deloitte’s research and interpretations:

• As “financial freshmen” – although aware, they are new at how to go about implementing financial decisions. They may find insurance products too complex and may not understand or see the need for risk opportunities. This means that as independent agents and insurers, you have an opportunity to provide education and advice about risk and the need for financial protection. You can be their resource…their “go-to” person when it comes to insurance matters.
• Their independently dependent mindset draws them to research all matters and seek recommendations from personal networks and professional advisors. Here is another opportunity for you to be the one providing the financial advice. Also, ask your existing customers to be available as influential advertisers and endorsers of your expertise.
• Their practicality means they shop for price and are prone to switch insurance carriers, but at the same time Gen Y’ers expect good service and convenience. Make value, convenience and good service the key ingredients to your product offerings…and have a plan in place to cultivate their loyalty over time.
• Growing up tech-savvy means that you need to use technology to reach and interact with Gen Y’ers. Explore all social media platforms to engage them, deliver content tied to the research and advice they will be seeking.
• As entrepreneurs in the making, they may be your future Commercial Lines clients. Begin exploring opportunities to establish business-to-business relationships with them.
• Provide a customer experience that caters to Gen Y’s diversity and individuality… this can also be done through the delivery of relevant customized content through social media channels, such as Facebook.
• If you are involved in charities, environmental causes, etc., let that be known. Gen Y’ers will be looking at this when evaluating with whom to do business.

Several specific recommendations made by Deloitte in reaching Generation Y’ers as insurance consumers include:

• Establishing marketing campaigns with ads featuring younger customers, both in print and on-line.
• Advertising in popular on-line environments such as chat rooms, social networking sites and blogs.
• Redefining the customer experience, the business relationship through communication on social networking sites by establishing a Facebook presence, creating a blog, and using these various platforms to provide education on risk and insurance products; this may include on-line educational tools, seminars at a college campus (on renter’s insurance, for example) and on-line learning programs for teen/young drivers to help minimize risk and reduce premiums.
• Delivering consistent messaging and experience across all channels of distribution.
• Maintaining an agency channel for completing transactions with a live person. Also developing web/mobile distribution and servicing options, such as on-line chat, click to call.
• Providing product information for research, so that when Y’ers are searching on-line for coverage for a specific item in a specific area, they find you.
• Offering innovative products that will serve the needs of their lifestyle and values, such as: pay-as-you-drive auto insurance that relies on GPS to track usage; mobile phone insurance coverage; “green” home insurance policies.

There is a lot of good information here to mull over, to see how you can integrate targeting Gen Y’ers into your marketing plans to develop business relationships with the next big generation of consumers. Thanks Aartrijk, and thank you, Deloitte.


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